Quote: Society

Credit: High Society, 1998 by Cecily Brown
What, I wondered, did he mean by “society”? The plural of human beings? Where was the substance of this thing called “society”? I had spent my whole life thinking that society must certainly be something powerful, harsh and severe, but to hear Horiki talk made the words “Don’t you mean yourself?” come to the tip of my tongue. But I held the words back, reluctant to anger him.
‘Society won’t stand for it.’
‘It’s not society. You’re the one who won’t stand for it - right?’
‘If you do such a thing society will make you suffer for it’
‘It’s not society. It’s you, isn’t it?’
‘Before you know it, you’ll be ostracized by society.’
‘It’s not society. You’re going to do the ostracizing, aren’t you?’
Words, words of every kind went flitting through my head. “Know thy particular fearsomeness, thy knavery, cunning and witchcraft!” What I said, however, as I wiped the perspiration from my face with a handkerchief was merely, “You’ve put me in a cold sweat!” I smiled.
From then on, however, I came to hold, almost as a philosophical conviction, the belief: What is society but an individual?

~ Osamu Dazai

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